Special Education/ATD


My son is autistic and completely non communicative. He needs a talking device to communicate at school and the IEP team agrees but requires me(parent) to get this device through the Department of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) because of the high cost of this device. I did this but it has a lot of problems and often has to be return for repair which can take months, leaving my son with no communication device at all. I read in IDEA that the school should provide this device for my son. Is this correct? If so, I could use DDD to have a device at home for him to use because even when it is working the school will not allow my son to bring it home and I cannot afford to purchase one.
Thank you for helping me!

The law allows parents to utilize insurance when parents have that in purchasing medical equipment that is needed at school and home.  I believe a communication device could be considered a medical device, but I am not sure they can require you to have DDD pay for the device.  In the case where the device is missing or being repaired it is not an excuse for the school to not provide what the IEP states he needs.  I don't know if this is defined as a needed service in the IEP but if so, they need to figure out how to have the same or similar machine available when that one is gone.  I think a nice compromise for what has happened is for you to have DDD buy a machine for home and the school buy the same machine for the school.  The school machine would then never leave the school, and probably last longer if not hauled around a lot.  

You do this by asking for an IEP meeting, where you discuss.  If they don't agree to set up alternatives for the machine repairs and service, then you have the right to follow your state's complaint procedures...call the State Department of Education, Exceptional Student Services, Complaint resolution and they can help you.  

I have seen schools not able to hire a teacher due to lack of applicants and they were still required to provide the service the teacher would require...so this machine is just as important for your son.

I wish you good luck.


Special Education

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Dr. Norm Bishop


I have spent nealy 40 years in the area of Special Education. I have had the pleasure of teaching pre-school, elementary, middle, high school and college levels, as well as, served in school district administration buildings in classroom/legal support positions. I have also spent some time working in a State Department of Education Exceptional Student Services Office and am now currently Division Head and Director of Institutional Research at Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, Kentucky. I also teach special education classes on campus. I have also taught full time teacher preparation at Northern Arizona University on the Tucson Campus, Seattle Pacific University, and at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyoming. In addition to that I have taught adjunct at Seattle Pacific University, City University in Seattle, Ashford University, and Grand Canyon University.


I have experienced directly special education legal issues, process and procedure, and have taught at all levels in every special education category except gifted. My major expertise is diagnostic prescriptive teaching, literacy as it relates to disabilities, technology in special education, and Educational Leadership. My greatest passion in the field is building new programs, implementing and doing the research to see how they work. My Dissertation and principle research interest is in the area of inclusive education, primarily co-teaching of students with disabilities in the general education classroom.

Council for Exceptional Children, Association for the Supervision of Curriculum, National Reading Council.

Teaching Exceptional Children, Published computer assisted instruction, titled PAL, Special Education Basics, college Textbook, Teaching with Precision, college Textbook, Various devotionals at the website, Preachitteachit.com.

I have a B.A. in Secondary Education, a Masters in Special Education (cross categorical), administrative certification, and a second B.A. in Elementary Education. I completed my doctorate in Educational Leadership at Northern Arizona University.

Awards and Honors
Best Summer Program in the Nation (Honorable Mention, when I was Teaching) Multiple local awards

Past/Present Clients

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.